Mobile Devices

The killer app for 5G will be video streaming

27 August 2019

According to a new survey from IHS Markit, the biggest types of activities consumers are looking forward to with 5G include video streaming, video calling, social media, mobile gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality.

Consumers want 5G-enabled smartphones and are willing to pay extra for 5G service, and with this will come a variety of new services and applications that the faster speeds and lower latency will afford. As a result, the deployment of 5G will help video usage to increase, accounting for 70% of mobile network traffic in 2022, up from 47% in 2015.

“The promise of faster video streaming through 5G is generating enormous enthusiasm among consumers,” said Joshua Builta, senior principal analyst for IHS Markit. “Interest is particularly high for those younger than 50, with 81 percent of survey respondents in that age range citing video streaming as the top activity for 5G. Consumers are expressing strong interest in video streaming both on smartphones and for home internet services, which are equally supported by 5G.”

While 4G wireless services support most types of video content, 5G will allow for new types of streaming such as 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) video, which is already increasing in the amount of content available. The 5G standard will be critical to promoting 4K streaming as well as live video streaming for sports or concerts, the market research firm said.

5G broadband coming strong

Additionally, 5G video streaming via home internet will likely increase as well as fixed wireless access (FWA) in the home accelerates. Already, Verizon has started offering 5G broadband in select cities with the notion to expand this service moving forward. Other telecoms such as the U.K.’s Three have started offering broadband through 5G as well. 5G equipment carrier Ericsson recently forecast that it expects there to be 1.9 billion mobile broadband subscriptions by 2024.

According to the IHS Markit survey, both prerecorded and live streaming of video is one of the most compelling reasons to upgrade home internet service. A total of 74% of those surveyed named video streaming as the chief motivation for upgrading to 5G home broadband.

While often regarded purely as a mobile technology, the 5G standard also supports FWA in the home. However, unlike fixed solutions such as DSL, cable or fiber, 5G FWA uses wireless mobile network technology to extend internet access into homes.

In theory, 5G can operate at up to 1 gigabit per second, while the average speed of broadband connections in the U.S. in 2019 was about 35 megabits.

As a result, the market research firm forecasts the global over-the-top (OTT) video subscriptions will surpass the 1 billion mark by 2021, up from 620 million at the end of last year.

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